Scientia Marina, Vol 77, No 1 (2013)

Seasonal fluctuations of some biological traits of the invader Caprella scaura (Crustacea: Amphipoda: Caprellidae) in the Mar Piccolo of Taranto (Ionian Sea, southern Italy)

Ermelinda Prato
CNR-Institute for Coastal Marine Environment U.O.S. Taranto , Italy

Isabella Parlapiano
CNR-Institute for Coastal Marine Environment U.O.S. Taranto , Italy

Francesca Biandolino
CNR-Institute for Coastal Marine Environment U.O.S. Taranto , Italy


Caprella scaura is an epifaunal amphipod crustacean that originates in the western Indian Ocean and has spread throughout the world, but very little is known about fundamental aspects of its biology. This paper is the first presentation of its life history traits in an invaded region. The study was conducted in the Mar Piccolo basin (southern Italy, Ionian Sea), over a one-year period. All biological parameters showed a strong seasonal pattern, breeding peaked twice during the year and the number of eggs in the ventral brood pouch ranged from 5 to 72. The sex ratio was generally close to 1:1. A strong correlation between total length of ovigerous females and number of eggs was observed. The mean length of both mature males and mature females was 10.63 and 7.70 mm, respectively. The results of this study showed that the population dynamics of this species was not dissimilar to that of other caprellids or marine epifaunal Crustacea. This caprellid has given rise to a stable population in the Mar Piccolo; it was present all year round in the study area but its density suggests that it is not yet a strong invader.


Caprella scaura; introduced species; lagoon area; Mar Piccolo; Ionian Sea

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